She's a sparkling Dutch lady riding the waves of modern times. Successful as a model, television presenter, actress, columnist and privacy activist. But foremost someone like Ancilla Tilia lives by her own concepts and ideals. Plus as a cherry on top, she actively pursues those beliefs. Work hard for today to enable tomorrow, that's the CFYE spirit!
"I like the unconventional beauty of real people, whether they have wrinkles, absurd taste in fashion, different skin colors, missing a leg, haven’t showered all year, whatever."
Can you tell a bit about yourself, who is Ancilla Tilia?
I would say a chaotic creative idealistic adventurer. Some people might know me from my modelling, presentation work or my outspokenness on privacy issues.
What was your reason or motivation to set sail to the Northern part of India?
I have a business contract in India for modelling purposes, so I had often traveled to India, mostly the South. But I had not seen much of the place in a leasury fashion. It was high on my to do list to take the time to travel around a bit and see the non-business side with a good friend. The real daily life of Indian people and the touristic highlights. We chose to do North India because in the end we only had two weeks and it was rain season. It was a bit dryer in the North.
Looking at your images, I can tell you have a preference for shooting living beings over anything else. I mean, it leans more towards photojournalism then your average travel "i watch my holiday at home" snaps. The first signs of a discipline you want to pursuit?
Perhaps so haha. For a while I thought I wanted to try some model shooting in a studio, as I already have a lot of experience in that field as a model. Maybe one day I will, but I discovered I see much more beauty in a voyeuristic shot of a real situation, rather than a created artificial situation. I do like the stories that these almost accidental pictures tell. I like the unconventional beauty of real people, wether they have wrinkles, absurd taste in fashion, different skin colours, missing a leg, haven't showered all year, whatever. They're a moment in the lives of real people, and I enjoy having shot a nice picture of that brief moment in time that is gone forever the next moment. I must also say I really love shooting animals as well. Just as much or maybe even more so than people. Shooting them allows me to completely immerse myself with their beauty.
"I once saw this quote on a tile that says: Do what you like, they'll talk anyway." I have come to learn that is very true"
I think immersing yourself with the beauty surrounding you, is a type of mindfulness that can bring much joy and clarity. Do you have certain spiritual tendencies or another outlet that prevents you to go haywire?
Well, I guess photography would be one of those things! Definitely some mindfulness training going on there, you can't be a good observer when your mind is elsewhere. I have never actively studied spirituality but my Kung Fu class comes with some spiritual quotes sometimes and I quite enjoy that. Other than that, I feel like long walks an cuddling up to my cats should be enough.
You mentioned your idealistic thoughts, for me they're the reason to wake up in the morning and to keep me awake at night haha. What is your spark?
Ha! Yes I know how you feel. We have the responsibility to leave the world a better place than we found it, or at least to try to right the wrongs that we see around us. I have a hard time imagining having to explain to my grand children why we left them in such a mess. I try to reach out to my fans through twitter and facebook and share some of my thoughts or important news around privacy concerns. It is really the most important issue we face at this moment and if we don't speak up soon enough, we will lose essential human rights forever. Not just for ourselves but for many generations to come. I could not look myself in the eye knowing I was there and let it all happen because I was too busy playing Angry Birds and watching Keeping up with the Kardashians. So I spend a considerable amount of my free time researching and speaking out about these things.
You're a model (who is not afraid to show some flesh) and an activist (who's not afraid to speak her mind). Is it difficult to show the world the real integer Ancilla? Or are your days filled with fending off dirty joe's, neo Che Guevara's or random criticasters?
I once saw this quote on a tile that says "do what you like, they'll talk anyway." I have come to learn that is very true, so I attempt to live by it. Not always easy, but worth trying. Speaking of spirituality, everything you focus on will grow, so I try not to pay too much attention to so called haters. No good can come of it anyway. Instead I try to make contact with people whom I have things in common with or admire.
On a lighter note, what great things are in the pipeline? And anything else you want to share?
I am currently working on a new show on Flabber.nl about hackers and I'm acting in a Dutch tv show called Popoz (Comedy Central), where I play a pathologist. Other than that I am still keeping busy behind and in front of the photo camera as well as writing columns and giving speeches about the importance of our rights such as privacy.